A devastating cut to library holdings at Brock

Six days ago, our university library announced the cancellation of all Wiley subscriptions as of 1 January 2015.  This means that 1,363 journals will no longer be updated (back issues will be available, at least for now).   Many of the Wiley journals are science journals – particularly hard hit will be the areas of ecology, evolution, and entomology.  I teach an entire course based on the journal “Molecular Ecology”, which is now being cancelled.   It is true that journal costs are spiralling because many academic publishers are rapacious and because the Canadian dollar has declined recently. It is also true that Brock has less money than it needs, due to Ontario’s dismal economic situation after the 2008 economic crash. Nevertheless, the decision to cut hundreds of journals was made without consultation, and in the context of recent university decisions to spend a great deal of money on new buildings. Our university seems to have forgotten what we are supposed to do in those buildings, or that scholars need access to information even more than they need new buildings, both for research and for teaching, for professors and for students, including undergraduates.  

I am really, really glad that the Brock University Faculty Association has filed a grievance, as this is an intolerable assault on our conditions of employment, especially as this latest cut follows several other major cuts to support for research at Brock, especially in science. We cannot be scholars without a decent library.  My research students and I cannot do our jobs without journals that are being cancelled.  I cannot do my teaching properly without journals that are being cancelled.  I hope my union will be successful in standing up for our right to do our jobs well, and having these cuts reversed.

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About Miriam Richards

Professor, scientist, farmer, etc.
This entry was posted in Lab news, Life, the University, and Everything. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A devastating cut to library holdings at Brock

  1. rossmounce says:

    Why is asking for access to research so bad? I’m sure your colleagues would send you PDFs. I certainly would. Aren’t ~50% of articles available already for free, without having to ask? http://www.nature.com/news/half-of-2011-papers-now-free-to-read-1.13577

    • melbelv says:

      Nowhere close to 50% of articles are available for free. You have completely misunderstood the Nature announcement, and in any case that only affects the approximately 30 Nature titles, which is far less than 1% of the scholarly journals currently being published.

      Your claim that asking authors directly for copies of articles is an adequate substitute for libraries providing immediate access is a fascinating one, but I think you need to think the implications of that through a bit further. If that claim were true, the entire scholarly journal publishing industry could simply stop publishing actual journals, and instead provide peer-review and editing services in combination with publishing abstract-citations for discovery. Then all access to the actual articles would be by direct author contact. Oh, wait, so who is paying the journal publishers to provide those services? And what happens when the authors retire, die, or are otherwise unreachable? And what about the ones who are in theory willing to send, but are busy and just don’t answer those requests in the timeline that you need the article?

  2. Pingback: Why are librarians hesitant to CANCEL ALL THE JOURNALS? | Inovação em Biblioteconomia nas Redes Sociais

  3. Pingback: The Weakening Dollar’s effect on Canadian Academic Libraries | A Way of Happening

  4. Pingback: The Weakening Dollar’s Effect on Canadian Academic Libraries | CAPAL: UWO Student Chapter

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